Barnes & Noble Bust, Wally Now #1 on Amazon!

Life for all of us in the real estate professions has changed dramatically over the past decade. Dramatic as they have been, our challenges pale in comparison to the upheaval in the book business. The impact of Amazon on publishers, book stores, and authors has been radical if not explosive.
There was once a time that being published was an exclusive club with guards at the gate such as Radom House, Simon-Schuster and McGraw-Hill. But now, Amazon says that we the people can be the publishers!
What was once a trip to the bookstore is now a simple touch on any smart device. Amazon became sufficiently enamored with the digital distribution of books that they developed Kindle, a virtual hand-held personal library (I love mine!).
And what of the authors, how have they fared? Why own story provides insight into being an author then, and being an author now.
They say we all have a book inside us. This was true for me, and it’s true for you. I had a book in the back of my mind for quite some time. About a decade ago I committed to prying it out of the gray matter and onto paper.
Tucked away in the back corner of my office banging briskly on my laptop with a free flow of disjointed thoughts, I emerged after 3 days with my first book. Enthused and excited, I sprinted to reception area of my office to deliver my master piece to the waiting literary agents and publishing executives.
Unfortunately, there were no literary agents, no publishers, no reviewers or interviewers in my office. Just the UPS guy.
With no possibility of being published by a mainstream publisher and unwilling to reduce my dignity to “vanity” or self-publishing, I choose the only remaining option – I formed a publishing company. And so was born Someday Publishing. Seemed a fitting name since “someday” I would get the book published.
The publishers advance payment was not what I had hoped. Rather than the publisher advancing me a percentage of the anticipated royalties, I advanced Someday Publishing over $20,000 to publish my book! But in less than 90 days, 5,000 freshly printed copies of my first book were delivered to my door.
As I have learned from cars, boats, and planes….speed is expensive!
The book was accepted by Barnes & Noble for their local authors program. And THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION devoted a full front page of the real estate section to local authors, that I shared with Phyllis Staines on her first book “Get the Best Deal When Selling Your Home”. Surely the New York Times was next!
Turns out that having 5,000 books published is not the same as 5,000 books sold. Think of a printed book like a listing. Nobody gets paid until you sell it! There are still a few dozen of those vintage first books available in my office, collector’s editions, signed by the author.
Fast forward to today. Amazon has completely changed the rules of the game.
In the 1989 Kevin Costner film “Field of Dreams”, novice farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice that whispers, “If you build it, he will come”. I’m not accusing Amazon of stealing Costner’s idea, but Amazon is now screaming “If you write it, we will publish it”!
And not only will they publish your book, they will market, print, and ship it! OR they will make it magically available to every digital device on the planet. Plus, they’ll do the currency conversion if your book becomes a hit in Bangladesh.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has knocked it out of the park with Kindle and Kindle Direct Publishing. And if that were not enough, Amazon will also print and ship your book to anyone on the planet with a credit card. By the way, free shipping to Amazon Prime members. I’d love to play on Jeff Bezos’ “Field of Dreams”!
With Amazon, the world can see “inside your book” and if they like the sneak peak, the whole book is just one click away from instantaneous digital delivery at Wally And instant payment to you the author.
Imagine if there was a shopping cart button in each of your listings, allowing instant ownership and payment if a person liked what was “inside your listing”. I just wrote myself a reminder to talk to Jeff Bezos about that idea.

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